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I do not fit the stereotypical image of a cheerleader, the status-obsessed glamour girls of teen movies and the public consciousness. I don’t drink, smoke, or go to parties. I prefer to spend Friday nights at home watching war movies like Fury and Saving Private Ryan.
But after three years, not only am I thriving as a cheerleader, but this year I was made captain of the team. Being the captain requires one to continually project authority. Not only this, but a captain has to imbue her fellow cheerleaders with a sense that everything will be all right, even when cheer pyramids are falling and bodies litter the football field.
The leader within me finally shone through at summer cheer camp, where the nervousness I initially felt was replaced by a surge of confidence. I was here. It was no accident.
“Get in line!” I shouted at the assembled cheerleaders.
Being captain of the cheerleading team has helped define who I am and what I’m capable of. I am not someone to shirk responsibilities and choose the easiest path available. I plan on becoming a doctor, and as such I will be responsible for the well-being of others: helping, guiding, and motivating them. While having a scalpel in my hand will be very different from having a cheerleader’s foot in my hand, in both cases if my hand shakes, someone gets hurt. Based on my experience in cheer, I know that I will have a steady hand.
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